By now you already know the bad news, and that is that SFX has filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection. We told you this on an optimistic note, with the caveat that all festivals would be safe. However, we subsequently learned that the story is much more complicated than that. Mere hours after the SFX news broke, Tomorrowland went on the defensive, but interestingly enough Tomorrowland limited its defense to the editions in Belgium and Brazil.
Tomorrowland Press Coordinator Debby Wilmsen reaffirmed that Tomorrowland in Belgium and Brazil will indeed go ahead without disruption, but she left a gap the size of Georgia in her assurances. She reported that Tomorrowland is “exploring all possibilities…to ensure that…the festival will have a bright future in the United States as well”. Unfortunately she also reported the distressing news that “no concrete plans have yet been made for TomorrowWorld 2016”. So yes, unfortunately the naysayers and conspiracy theorists on Facebook might have been onto something.
She went on to explain that in 2013 ID&T (which then owned 50% of Tomorrowland) sold its business to SFX. Then the Founders of Tomorrowland, Manu & Michiel Beers decided to buy back the 50% stake in Tomorrowland Belgium. So for the past two years Tomorrowland has been completely Belgian owned, but the deal required Tomorrowland to collaborate with SFX for TomorrowWorld.
So essentially, Tomorrowland Belgium and Tomorrowland Brazil are separate entities from TomorrowWorld. It’s quite clear that Tomorrowland is distancing itself from TomorrowWorld as it’s entangled in the messy reorganization that SFX is about to undergo. It may very well see drastic changes or even elimination altogether, but at this point everything is up in the air. We know that Tomorrowland wants to maintain its stake in the US and that the 10 year lease on the Chattahoochee Hills property remains in effect for the time being. Let’s hope for the best here, but don’t expect those TomorrowWorld 2016 dates or tickets anytime soon.
“Both the festival in Boom (Belgium) and the one in Itu (Sao Paulo, Brazil) will go ahead without any disruption due to the current situation. In light of the present situation, no concrete plans have yet been made for TomorrowWorld 2016.
We are currently exploring all possibilities. Tomorrowland has always worked from a long-term philosophy and in this context, all options are being considered to ensure that, like in Belgium and Brazil, the festival will have a bright future in the United States as well.
In the past few months, it had been clear that SFX, our partner for TomorrowWorld and Tomorrowland Brasil, is experiencing financial difficulties. Last night we received the news that SFX Entertainment, the publicly listed American company founded by Robert F.X. Sillerman, has applied for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from creditors. In the coming weeks, SFX will be undergoing a financial and operational reorganization. SFX Entertainment is a stakeholder in numerous events and projects including Awakenings, Sensation, Nature One, Electric Zoo and Rock in Rio.
Since 2013 we have collaborated with SFX for the foreign editions of Tomorrowland held in the USA and Brazil. However, we have noticed that our vision and goals, including a long-term strategy, are different from those of the publicly listed company.
In 2013 the Dutch company ID&T, which then owned 50% of the shares in Tomorrowland, sold its business to the American SFX. Manu & Michiel Beers then decided to buy back the 50% stake that the Dutch ID&T held in Tomorrowland in Belgium, with the result that for the past two years, the Tomorrowland festival has been 100% Belgian, but this has entailed an obligation to collaborate SFX for the foreign editions.
The Belgian festival Tomorrowland remains the passion and life’s work of the driving forces behind its creation, Manu & Michiel Beers and their young, motivated staff in Antwerp and they intend to continue to bring the same level of ambition to the festivals in Belgium and abroad in the coming years.
The Chapter 11 procedure will have no consequences for Tomorrowland in Boom. The festival in Belgium is created, organized and managed for 100 % by the Belgian team. Tomorrowland Brazil will also take place as planned two months from now in Itu (Sao Paulo). Tomorrowland Brazil is being organized in close consultation with the Belgian team by a motivated Brazilian team that is able to work independently of SFX in North America for all aspects of the event.”